Rental car companies have been thrown under a number of buses as of late. They can't borrow money to finance purchases; the recession has hammered the travel industry; wholesale used vehicle prices are falling (making rental car fleets less valuable); and besides that, car dealers can't get the money to buy the retired rental cars anyway, which subtracts yet another revenue stream.
Rental companies have been good for something like 15% of sales from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. But not this year: Enterprise, which also buys for National and Alamo, will buy half the number of cars it did last year, and they'll keep those cars a couple of months longer. Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty also said they will buy fewer cars and work them longer. The automakers have doubled incentives to encourage sales, but there are simply no teeth left in the rental business with which to bite.
Thus, don't be surprised to find a few more stains on the seats and a few more miles on the clock the next time you find yourself at the wheel of a rental car.
[Source: Automotive News, Sub Req.]